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To Me, It’s About The Good Wolf and The Bad Wolf

These are interesting times we are living right now. Yes, I’m talking about the Coronavirus pandemic.

These times are asking us to physically withdraw, keep our distances, be wary. It’s a fine line we are walking. Our ‘usual’ trust and faith in the goodness of people may be starting to waver and the line between distancing and distrusting may start turning grey.

Well, that’s how I am feeling at this time. And I feel an internal struggle starting to simmer.

There’s a book I’d read almost a decade ago that came to mind, Turning to one another: Simple conversations to restore hope to the future by Margaret Wheatley. I’ve been going through it again these past couple weeks. All these years later, I found the book still asked deeply challenging and relevant questions for these times.

One of the questions the book asked kept turning over in my mind: What do I believe about others?

I thought I believed that people are fundamentally good. Yet as I sat to think about this question, with more time to reflect on it, I realised that I believed more in the Native American tale of the good wolf and the bad wolf. The tale goes:

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealously, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

Every day, we meet people who have been feeding their wolves, some have fed their good wolf more than their bad wolf, and vice-versa.

In these times of uncertainty, it’s easy to withdraw, to close off, not just physically but emotionally too. Perhaps, it’s our instinct of self-preservation that we give permission to take over. Now, don’t get me wrong – we really do need to physically distance ourselves, to keep away from at-risk situations and persons, and do our part in stopping this infection from spreading. Thankfully, we still have our thoughts, our non-verbal communication (physical expressions, and gestures), our words, our actions, our common sense, our technology, and so much more, to help us continue to express ourselves and connect with people who we choose to care about, and even people we don’t know.

No one knows how long this global pandemic will last. These are truly new, interesting, and evolving times; it’s life, but not as we know it[1]. During these times, I know I will hear the call of my good wolf and my bad wolf over and over… I believe it’s the internal struggle, I mentioned earlier.

So, I have chosen to assign myself the daily duty of making the best effort I can to feed my good wolf; because I want it to win. And hopefully, at the end of this pandemic, I will find that my good wolf is well-fed and content.

And should the next crisis (external or internal) come along, my good wolf will be healthy, fit and ready to leap ahead and lead.


[1] Star Trekkin’ is a 1980s pop song with the phrase, “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it”

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